Thursday, July 23, 2009

Camp VIP days three and four

Days three and four have seen a lot of action in our re-fight of Antietam. The battle has spread the length of the table, evolving into three hotly contested actions. The longest running is pictured here in the cornfield. Despite a continual stream of fresh brigades entering the fray, the Union hasn't been able to gain the advantage here. But the rebel ranks are getting very thin, so tomorrow's action could see a yankee breakthrough. In this shot, three of the six Confederate generals can be seen plotting their next move.
The second portion of the battle has centered around the attack on the sunken road. Despite heavy losses, the bluebellies just keep on coming, and their volleys have left gaping holes in the rebel line. But help is on the way for the final day of the game.
Finally, day three saw a Union corp sneak across the Antietam on the extreme right flank of the enemy. However, the men in gray have ground down the yankee legions. But the greatest hope of victory for the Union is with the men picture below, making their way through a wood to the flank of the defending rebels.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Camp VIP week three

The third and final week of camp VIP is underway. This week we are recreating the bloody battle of Antietam. There are six players to a side with the ages ranging from 9 to 14. We are sticking loosely to the timetable of troops entering into the field, but liberties have been taken. After all, all of the commanders need troops! The shot below (click to enlarge) is the beginning of the first turn. A lot of action has taken place on this end of the table. By turn 6, French's very inexperienced unit appeared and had difficulty deploying its first brigade into line. By turn 8, he was ready to try his first attack on the formidable sunken road position.
The fighting in the cornfield was very fierce. Union general Hartsuff got too close to the enemy and was shot dead out of his saddle. For the moment, the Confederates are holding firm, but there seems to be an unending supply of troops in blue entering the field with each turn.
To make things a little more interesting as we head into the third day, a division of Union troops, Wilcox's to be exact, have managed to find a crossing of the Antietam beyond the right flank of the Rebs. This end of the table had been pretty quiet except for some artillery duels. That is certain to change as the player arrive for day three.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Week two of Camp VIP is complete

We wrapped up week two of Camp VIP with a colonial game using the Battles For Empire rules. A relief column, pictured below, was supposed to march across 10 feet of table to get to a besieged outpost. The natvie players arrived at different locations at different times. But one group arrived early enough and near enough to pin down the entire relief column long enough that they didn't have a chance of reaching the other end of the table by game's end. The kids enjoyed the rules as they are simpler than the ones we used for the American Revolution.
All in all, it was a good week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Americans win battle of Brandywine Creek!

After almost four days of gaming action, the Americans were able to claim a dearly won victory against the British. Despite heavy losses, they were able to hold their line, though if the battle had gone on much longer it is probable that the American left would have given way. The shot below is of the plowed hill where the Americans, particularly the lowly militia, stubbornly held on, and even managed to work two brigades into the rear of the British formations. This is a shot of the American left. A fresh brigade of Hessians can be seen in the right center of the picture.
The participants were terrific. They all seemed to enjoy the game and were great sports.
Today we wrap up the week with a colonial game pitting British redcoats agains masses of Ansars and Fuzzie Wuzzies. I'll post some pictures over the weekend.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

day two, week two

Day two saw a lot of action as all of the units finally came into play. Below is a picture of the American left at the end of day one. The British attacked aggressively and were driven back, especially on the extreme right of their line. But as the second day progressed, the redcoats had made some gains and the American commanders were quite concerned. (just click the photo to enlarge it.) Here is another angle of the action of the British right. Hessian reinforcements can be seen coming in on the upper right of the photo.
Here is a close-up of the British Guards trying to drive back the American light infantry brigade. These are the only Americans on this end of the table, and they have to at least delay the enemy until help can arrive.
The biggest surpise of the day came when an American militia unit was able to survive an attack in the flank from a battalion of British Grenadiers. This stopped their progress, and they suffered from some heavy volleys of musketry. Then, when they tried to renew their attack, a second green unit countercharged and completely overwhelmed them. So one of the two battalions has been totally destroyed, and the second has been stung by several volleys. Casualties are mounting on both sides, so day three will see some critical action.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Week two begins

Week two of my military history in miniature class began this afternoon. We are re-fighting the battle of Brandywine Creek from the American Revolution using a variant of the Johnny Reb rules. Six American players are defending against seven British and Hessian commanders.

All of the American forces were on the table, with two divisions deployed to defend. Four others were posted as reserves. One British/Hessian division of three brigades started on the table on the far right. The rest of the forces had the option of coming on there rolling one die, in the center rolling two dice, or on the left flank rolling three dice to determine which turn they would enter. One Hessian brigade chose the extreme left and rolled a 12! But at the end of the first day, we had just begun turn seven, and all but two of the British/Hessian units were on the table.

Naturally, most of the day's action was on the British left. The men in red got the best of it as an American player limbered a battery that was within cannon range and saw it destroyed in the second turn. Then the same player had to take a morale check of a unit behind works. He rolled snake eyes and saw that regiment flee all the way off the table on the other side. Fortunately, he had a reserve regiment in place to move up and fill the hole, but it was a painful start.

Day two will see the Americans hard-pressed to defend the length of the 12 foot table, especially as the Guards and Grenadiers enter the fray. I forgot the camera, but I'll be sure to take it tomorrow and post some pictures.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Week one is done

Week one of my miniatures class is completed. All 13 of the kids were fantastic sports and seemed to enjoy the two games we played. Thanks for making it a great week guys! Our second battle turned out to be one of the greatest upsets I can recall in seven years of doing this. The Prussians began day two poised to absolutely crush the battered Russian brigades. As the day progressed, they continued to pound away at the men in green and red. However, the stubborn Russians held where it counted most, around stars marking objectives. In the end, the Russians won on points. Additionally, they were able to move their Corps of Observation clear across the table, which was another victory condition. This body of troops was the weakest on the table, yet some incredibly poor dice rolling allowed them to make a gallant assault. Additionally, the Russian light cavalry was able to tie down several regiments of Prussian horse trying to make their way to that end of the table. The picture below shows the progress of the Corps of Observation at the beginning of day two. This shot is of the center of the table and the cavalry fights that took place there. A big mistake the Prussians made was not putting any infantry here to occupy the small village at the top-center of the picture. Those 100 points could have tipped the scales in their favor.
Newt week will have the American Revolution as its theme. We'll start the week re-fighting Brandywine Creek on a 12 foot by four foot table. Stay tuned for reports.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Russian Battle

The last two days of our camp will be devoted to a battle pitting the Prussians against the Russians. In the picture below, the Prussian players determine who will command which units. Before the start of the game, I told the Russian players that the key to their victory was being stubborn in defense. If they could hold their ground, they had a good chance of winning. Well, so much for advising young generals. Right from the start, the Russians pushed off aggressively against the Prussians. In the shot below, the two cavalries begin a series of spirited charges and counter-charges. The best sport of the day was Jason, who saw two of his Prussian dragoon regiments depart the field without even drawing thier sabers. His dice rolling was unbelievably terrible. He recruited John to start tossing them for him, and his lone remaining regiment actually did quite well.
Here is an example of a Russian unit advancing into the jaws of the enemy, forsaking the cover of a stone wall to the right that would have helped them tremendously. "Youth is wasted on the wrong people!"
Despite some early gains early on, the Prussians superior troops definitely had an edge at the end of the day. But they still had to capture several objectives before they could claim a victory. We'll see if they have what it takes to seal the deal tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day three of Camp VIP SYW week

The third day of our camp saw the end of the first battle. We were able to complete 10 turns in three days, which was largely due to how quickly the boys picked on how to use the rules. That helped tremendously in keeping the game going. In the shot below, young Michael attempted to attack a vastly superior force of Prussians. It was a gallant effort, but his heavily outnumbered French were driven back.
Here is a shot showing the guys in the heat of battle.

Towards the end of the game, Derek advanced his Hanoverian brigade forward to try to secure the Prussian left flank. Amazingly, the heavily outnumbered Prussians were able to withstand an intense attack from five Austrian brigades. A spectacular charge by a lone Hanoverian dragoon regiment hit an entire white-clad brigade square in the flank. Three battalions were routed before the dragoons were halted. Their attached commander suffered a wound and had to leave the field.

When the battle smoke finally cleared the Prussians were declared the winners. They had won more objective points and inflicted more casualties on their enemies. But it was a very close and costly victory.
Tomorrow will see the Prussians taking on the Russian masses.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day two Camp VIP SYW week

Things picked right up at the beginning of day two. In the early action, Derek's Hanoverian infantry managed to hold of Michael's Austrian Hussars. What should have been a disaster turned into a draw due to a lot of ones rolled by the Austrian commander. On the other flank, Kyle was able to drive off John P's dragoons and avert yet another serious threat. (click on the picture to enlarge it for a better view.) In the middle, Chris and Jordan ganged up on Kevin's two small brigades. After two turns, Kevin's brigades were barely holding on. Both allied batteries had been captured. And if that weren't enough, a third elite brigade of Prussian grenadiers arrived at the end of the day to add still more pressure.
On the Prussian left, John had finally brought his turning maneuver into play against the Austrians. This threat will have to be dealt with, and two brigades in white are ready to lock horns with John's men in dark blue.
The last major development of the day saw Jordon's Prussians beat Cormack's French in the race to occupy the large farm in the middle of the table. This objective is worth a lot of points, and Cormack will have his hands full trying to drive out the stubborn Prussians.
One way or the other, the battle will end on day three so that we can end the week with a battle using my Russian figures which are itching for a fight. As the sun rises on day three, the battle really could go either way.
All 13 of the boys in the class have been terrific. It has been a lot of fun so far, just as it is supposed to be.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Camp VIP SYW week begins

Today marked the beginning of my seventh summer of teaching my military history class at Camp VIP. This week will feature the Seven Years War. 13 young recruits turned out and our fictional battle, pitting Prussians and Hanoverians against Austrians and French is underway. The picture below is the table before the game began. The Austrians would be setting up on the right and the Prussians on the left. The various brigades were worth a certain number of points. Each side had to put together an army worth a set number of points. Once that was done, cards were drawn and the brigades were placed on the table. (to enlarge the picture, just click on it.)
This next picture shows two French brigades that will be seeking to gain the farm in front of them.
Here are two Prussian brigades preparing to attack on the left flank.

Once the game got started, there was a lot of activity. By the start of the 3rd turn things really started to heat up!

This final shot is about a third of the way into the third turn. Some Austrian dragoons had their card turn up early which gave them the chance to charge before the Prussian infantry could get into squares. The horsemen overwhelmed a heavy battery and then drove off a disorganized square of infantry. But the Prussian cuirassiers on their left might make them regret their boldness.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

AWI photos

Here are a few shots of a small portion of my AWI collection. These are some British and Hessians going up against some American militia. Most of the regiments went from a minimum of 10 to 12 up to 16 figures. Below is a shot of the British Guards brigade marching to support the attack.
This is the same set-up, but from the other flank.